Guatemalan Accused of Massacre Faces U.S. Immigration Trial

Murder of more than 160 in 1982 at issue

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A former member of an elite Guatemalan military unit is being tried in U.S. federal court for allegedly lying on his application to become an American citizen about his involvement in the massacre of more than 160 people during the country’s civil war, the Associated Press reports.

In an opening statement Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannie Joseph told jurors that Jorge Sosa, now 55, was part of a patrol that descended upon the small Guatemalan village of Las Dos Erres in 1982 and assisted in murdering and raping residents, including women and children. The patrol hit villagers over the head before shoving them down a well, Joseph said, and Sosa then allegedly threw a grenade into the well.

Joseph said Sosa did not disclose his actions and membership in the Guatemalan military when applying for American citizenship. Sosa’s attorney argued that Sosa did tell U.S. officials about his role in the army when he unsuccessfully sought asylum in 1985.